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SYNCOPATING SAXOPHONES 




SYNCOPATING • -SAXOPHONES 

BY 

ALFRED V. FRANKENSTEIN 


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CHICAGO, ROBERT O. BALLOU, 1925 




COPYRIGHT 1925 BY ROBERT 0. BALLOU 



T o the memory of Joseph Schreurs , for thirty 
years first clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony 
Orchestra , my first real teacher, and the man who 
opened my eyes to what music really is. 




INTRODUCTION 


I N THE beginning is the fact. After the fact 
come the theorists who explain that fact. 
The theory crystallizes into a law, and its exposi- 
tors constitute themselves a court, demanding 
observance of that law. This is art. 

Meanwhile, there have come into being new 
facts. And they go over the process again, always 
well behind the fact and its application; likewise 
there is the same insistence on the observance of 
the law. This, again, is art. 

“Something is happening in music/’ said 
Alexander Russell, and the five w r ords mean much. 
This “something” especially touches our Ameri- 
can musical art. It is the spirit of today, of us. It 
is jazz. Who knows about it? That man who is 
its high priest or its day laborer, as you like : it’s 
the same thing. It is the fact about which our 
theorists have no theory; the musical lawyers, 
therefore, also wait. 

Only he who has squirted its mellifluous subtle- 
ties from a “wa-wa” muted trumpet, or a gurgling 
“sax,” or sneaky tuba can tell you the truth — and 
he rarely looks upon his feat as other than a part 
of the day’s ritual. Once in a while he has the 


9 



gift of interpretation. When he says thus-and-so 
of the bass clarinet, it is not that tone color of 
exquisite quality, or a bored stick of wood with 
a temperamental reed of bamboo to be dandled 
like a babe with the colic which he recalls : it is an 
art of making beauty, the mechanics so mastered 
as to be unconscious, the experience of “giving 
and taking” and of instant virtuosity become 
instinct. 

“Syncopating Saxophones” blossomed from 
the soil. Day after day, have I looked across the 
tops of the six dozen music stands of the Civic 
Orchestra of Chicago, and there seen its author 
responsive and responsible, one eye on the printed 
page, the other eye on the conductor, and fingers 
busy on the bass clarinet’s silvered keys. 

By night your dancing, eating pleasure seekers 
have seen him in a small group, a unit among 
players just as expert, just as fervent in the prac- 
tice of another art, an art, by the way, as exacting 
as that of his day time occupation. 

Hence, when Brother Frankenstein says “The 
jazz orchestra of today is a perfect thing, as per- 
fect in its field as a large symphony orchestra — 
he is not talking from the point of view of a man 
who has done a little singing, and a little piano 
playing, a little concert going and a little dancing 


10 



in cabarets. He has worked in both ensembles. 
He has read everything printed by the bigwigs 
of the western world. He has played the works 
of the French “Six,” whose debt to American 
“ragtime” in its Paris invasion of two decades 
ago sometime will be comprehended and ex- 
plained. He has seen and talked with the Russian 
Stravinski in the workshop of actual symphony 
orchestra rehearsal. 

He is the doer who is become vocal. 

Eric Delamarter 


11 




PREFACE 


T HERE may be some mental comment on 
the part of the reader concerning my spell- 
ing of Russian names. The orthography I use 
is that worked out by Carl Van Vechten for his 
edition of Rimski-Korsakov’s autobiography, 
with certain modifications of my own. It is the 
natural and logical way to spell Russian names 
in English, but to go into elaborate explanations 
of the reason for its existence is out of place 
here. 

Thanks are due to the editor of Pearson's 
Magazine for permission to reprint “Igor Stra- 
vinski, Musician of the Machine Age,” and to the 
editor of The Etude for the use of “The Musical 
Babel.” 

The opinions expressed in these pages are 
subject to change without notice. 




CONTENTS 


Introduction. By Eric Delamarter - - - 9 

Preface - -- -- -- -- -- -13 

Igor Stravinski. By Pablo Picasso - - - 17 

Igor Stravinski, musician of the machine age 19 
Paul Whiteman. By Herb Roth - - - - 35 
The latest lively art - - - - ----- 37 

Numbers - -- -- -- -- --45 

The musical Babel - -- -- -- -47 

Syncopating Saxophones - -- -- -51 

Antoine Joseph Sax. By Wesley Brown - 53 

Les Grotesques de Chaykovski - - - - 61 

Wind players luckless - -- -- --63 

A Chicago Symphony - -- -- -- 73 
Carl Sandburg. By Rosendo Gonzales - - 75 
The singers’ A-------- - 79 

Brahms and the tyranny of form - - - 81 

On music criticism - -- -- -- -85 

Carl Van Vechten. By Miguel Covarrubias 87 
“Music after the Great War” - - - - 89 


15 





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IGOR STRAVINSKI, MUSICIAN OF THE 
MACHINE AGE 


I F ONE may compare composers to the instru- 
ments they exploit Igor Stravinski is a 
trombone. The Russian has all the instrument's 
sonority, nobility, and vigor; he has the horn- 
like grace of which the trombone is capable when 


19 



properly understood by composer and performer, 
and he has all the unrefined humor of a down- 
ward “jackass slide ’ 1 fortissimo. 

Stravinski came to Chicago to direct a pro- 
gram of his own work. He appeared on the 
regular concert series of the Chicago Symphony 
orchestra, which concerts, as all the world knows, 
are given on Friday afternoons and Saturday 
nights. So, at the final rehearsal on Thursday, 
the pit of Orchestra Hall was fairly filled with 
those who came more to see than to hear. 

Stravinski, short, rather bald, nervous in man- 
ner, opened his rehearsal by taking off his coat 
and revealing the Sweater. I doubt that any 
interview or other closeup of the composer dur- 
ing his stay in America failed to mention this 
Sweater. It is orange according to some, but to 
me it appeared pink. We are all agreed that the 
trimmings are gray. 

He directed in four languages at once, making 
remarks to the orchestra in general in German, 
but giving rehearsal marks in English (thus: 
“noch einmal number sixty-one, please”), speak- 
ing Russian to the concertmaster, Gordon, and 
French to the harpist, Tramonti. 

The “Fire Bird” suite was the first thing up. 
The short man in pink turns giant as soon as he 



starts to work with his baton. He directs with 
both arms, he directs with a sway of his entire 
body, he directs even with his knees. At the 
climax of the suite and of the ballet, the music 
accompanying the disappearance of the castle of 
the demon Katchei the Deathless, Stravinski 
jumps a foot into the air. And yet there is no 
difficulty, no obscurity in his conducting. It is as 
clear as the suave, composed beat of Frederick 
Stock. But where the spectacle of Stock taking a 
standing high jump in conducting the “Fire 
Bird” suite would be ridiculous, when Stravinski 
does it it is thrilling, it is necessary, it is inter- 
pretative. 

At the concerts he is more restrained. He does 
not direct with his knees and his shoulders, and 
he does not jump into the air. The black pall of 
formal dress clothing covers the muscular back 
that the Sweater allowed one to see. 

The program Stravinski directed is a cross sec- 
tion of his work ranging as it did from the early 
“Fantastic Scherzo,” written when the composer 
had not yet broken away from the traditions of 
his teacher, Rimski-Korsakov, through the “Fire 
Bird” music to the highly advanced “Song of the 
Nightingale” and the arrangement of what the 
program called “The Song of the Volga Barge- 


21 



men.” The last named opened the show. It is a 
short, tremendously powerful setting of the 
familiar tune for wind and percussion instru- 
ments. Stravinski intended this arrangement to 
become the national anthem of the new Russia. 
In this he falls into the same pitfall as did Gre- 
chaninov with his “Hymn of Free Russia.” For 
no matter how appropriate either song may be, 
the song that carries a people through revolution 
and subsequent civil war will become the national 
anthem of that people once the revolution is con- 
summated, and no carefully concocted national 
song can dislodge it. 

The “Fantastic Scherzo” is more scherzo than 
fantastic. It tries to describe in tone the life of a 
beehive, and fails entirely to do so. And there is 
in it entirely too much suggestion of the scherzo 
“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” by Paul Dukas. 

“The Song of the Nightingale” is a master- 
work of the man’s fully ripened genius. It was 
originally composed as a three-act opera taking 
thirty minutes to perform. But opera to Stravin- 
ski was too artificial a form, so he revised the 
work as a symphonic poem. It would make a 
great ballet, and is the only one of the composer’s 
major works that is not a ballet. 

The story is familiar to all those who have read 


22 



Hans Andersen. It is concerned with the emperor 
of China and his pet nightingale who leaves him 
when a mechanical song bird arrives at the court. 
The emperor is taken sick, the mechanical night- 
ingale is broken and can not sing, but the living 
bird arrives on the scene to charm Death and save 
the emperor’s life. 

The music of this is indescribable as yet in 
words. For Stravinski has worked out a new 
idiom, and not until we have all become soaked in 
it can we find the correct adjective, the apt ana- 
logy, that will illumine in other minds what we 
feel. 

The learned critic, Daniel Gregory Mason, 
complains of the shortness and insignificance of 
Stravinski’s melodic material. This sounds 
strangely like what the learned critics had to say 
about Beethoven, Wagner, Musorgski, Debussy 
— in fact about every composer who has created 
his own idiom. To those of us who are not so 
learned that we can still listen to music and not to 
diminished-seventh chords and resolutions and 
such things it seems that “The Song of the Night- 
ingale” and other big Stravinski works are 
packed, crowded, loaded down with melody. In 
fact it is the very superabundance of melody that 
calls forth criticisms like those of Dr. Mason. 


23 



The “Fire Bird” music ended the program. 
And “The Fire Bird” is Rimski-Korsakov on 
every page. The melodic lines of the last move- 
ment of the suite, for example, take inspiration 
from the mind that conceived the popular “Hymn 
to the Sun” from The Golden Cockerel 

Some nights after the symphony concerts that 
he directed Stravinski gave a recital at the Arts 
Club. They imported a lady named Torpadie, 
Greta Torpadie, from somewhere expressly for 
this concert, and that was a great waste of some- 
body’s money. 

The program itself was a curious mixture of 
the best and the worst in the composer. It was a 
queer jumble of sublimity and trash, like a shovel- 
ful of sapphires and slime. 

It opened with the lovely prelude and fisher- 
man’s song from the operatic version of The 
Nightingale. The prelude is a mysterious, march- 
ing, piece of music, something like the efifect used 
by Reinhold Gliere to describe the journey of the 
Magi in a little Christmas song. The fisherman’s 
song is a melody of Schubertian sweetness, but 
cast in a Russian mold. 

Some of the following songs were worth hear- 
ing. Sometimes Stravinski writes drawing-room 
stuff of the worst order, like the interminable, 


24 



stupid, inane “Faun and Shepherdess” that closed 
the program, the banality of which is revealed 
by the title. 

But in some of the better songs is a cryptic 
tendency. The texts are cryptically senseless, the 
music cryptically brief. Stravinski has written a 
song entirely on the syllables “ah” and “oo.” And 
here is a synopsis of the text of a group of four 
songs for soprano and small orchestra, known as 
“Pribouatki,” as translated and condensed by 
John Alden Carpenter. (These were not done that 
night at the Arts Club.) 

1. “Uncle Armand — In which Uncle Armand is 
urged to cheer up and refrain from worry and 
proceed as quickly as possible to the Inn of the 
White Horse, where good wine awaits.” 

2. “The Oven — In which Louise is admonished 
to watch her oven where the duck sizzles in the 
casserole.” 

3. “The Colonel — In which we learn of the sad 
failure of the Colonel as a huntsman, of the 
breaking of his gun, the loss of his dog, the 
escape of the partridge, and the harsh words 
of his wife.” 

4. “The Old Man and the Hare — A cryptic little 
study of antithesis, concerning an old man who 
cooks soup without fire, who urges the lame 


25 



to walk, and the dumb to speak more softly.” 

One can not be certain whether such texts 
mean anything or not. 

The biggest thing on the Arts Club program 
was a trio for clarinet, violin and piano, cut down 
from the score of '"The Story of a Soldier.” The 
story of the soldier is that the military man is 
bewitched by the devil into playing the violin, 
when all he has ever played before is the accord- 
ion. The music is a grand slam-bang of rhythm, 
noise, dissonance, jazz, blah. Glorious Stravinski! 

The above paragraphs summarize some of 
Stravinski’s important works, so that in discuss- 
ing his place in modem music we have something 
to go by. But one more work, not included in 
the programs reviewed above, must be presented 
in outline here. That is the composer’s master- 
piece to date, “The Rite of Spring.” This ballet 
is concerned with the pagan Russian worship of 
the earth, and is a direct descendant of the pagan 
dances in Korsakov’s Snow Maiden. The action, 
briefly summed up, is this r 1 

“It is a picture from early Russian tribal life, 
about 400 B.C., showing Slavic savages carrying 
out the rites of human sacrifices to the sun-god 


^Frederick H. Martens. The Romance of the Arts. 



Yarillo. In the first tableau we have a succession 
of dances in pleasant green meadows. First, the 
youths of the tribe, in glaring red and white cos- 
tumes, do the 'Dance of the Adolescents’ with 
much stamping of feet. Then the old men and the 
young girls of the tribe do their dances. Next 
comes a religious dance in which rape is expressed 
in mimicry, to show the tribe’s desire for fruit- 
fulness, and then a general tribal dance is fol- 
lowed by religious exercises. In the second tab- 
leau w r e have the horrors of human sacrifice. It is 
night on the borders of a dim Slavic land, where 
stone pillars and totem poles hung with the skulls 
of bulls rise in the moonlight. The dance of the 
men weaves around the young girl, loveliest of 
the tribe, chosen for the sacrifice before the god 
Yarillo rises in the east. It ends with a frenzied 
climax of movement, when the victim, pierced 
with the holy knife, sinks to the earth dead, and 
the tribesmen carry off her corpse, holding it 
stiffly above their heads.” 

Again that difficulty of finding words for the 
music. The description of Mr. Edward Moore, 
music critic of The Chicago Tribune , that "The 
Rite of Spring” is "steaming and marshy and 
saurian” hits it off well for those who have heard 
the work, but those who haven’t may not get so 


27 



much out of Mr. Moore's phrase. 

In this, as in “Petrushka ' 5 and “The Song of 
the Nightingale ' 5 the orchestra is not the orches- 
tra. We are conscious that we are hearing the 
same instruments we have always heard, yet tone 
qualities are strangely metamorphosed. The effect 
is something like the one we experience when we 
hear a familiar tune with new harmonies under it. 

The orchestra of “Petrushka 55 is a gigantic 
concertina, for “Petrushka 55 is a ballet of the hap- 
penings at a peasants 5 fair. The orchestra of “The 
Song of the Nightingale" is perfumed, incense- 
sweet, thoroughly Chinese. The orchestra of 
“The Rite of Spring" is at once vernal and litur- 
gic, smelling of the rain-soaked earth. Stravinsky 
more than any composer since Wagner, has this 
faculty of completely changing himself when he 
changes subjects. Wagner was not always Wag- 
ner. He was Sachs, he was Tristan, he was 
Wotan. 

Stravinski represents two trends in modern 
music. There is the tendency toward ever greater 
simplification of the means of musical expression, 
and there is the movement toward ever increasing 
complexity of these same means. For example, 
“The Rite of Spring ' 5 uses one of the largest 
orchestras ever assembled. Eight horns, two 


28 



tubas, four bassoons, two double bassoons, two 
bass clarinets, and a whole army of flutes, oboes, 
clarinets, trumpets, trombones, drums, violins, 
and so on. And on the other hand Stravinski 
writes for wind octets, orchestras of fifteen; he 
even achieves such complete nudity of expression 
as to write songs for unaccompanied voice, and 
pieces for unaccompanied clarinet. It is the ten- 
dency toward the simplification of media that is 
most significant of the modern trend, but when a 
composer of today thinks in terms of the grand 
orchestra, it is of the grandest orchestra possible 
that he does think. 

And while on the subject of Stravinski’ s or- 
chestra it is pertinent to point out what, to me at 
least, is his typical orchestral effect. There are 
probably more freak effects in his work than in 
that of any other modern composer. The blasts 
in “The Fire Bird” which are produced by four 
horns and sound like a multitude of klaxons can 
not be classed as a typical effect, nor can the 
glissando undulations of the first violins in the 
first movement of the same suite, or the fortis- 
simo bursts of the bass tuba in “The Song of the 
Nightingale” be so called. But there is one effect 
as typical of Stravinski as a high, massed, violin 
tone is typical of Wagner, or the lowest tones of 


29 



the flute typical of Debussy. That is the doubling 
of the celesta and the pianoforte. It occurs 
throughout his work, and is particularly notice- 
able in the Chinese march in “The Song of the 
Nightingale/’ The smoothness of the celesta is 
somewhat obscured by the power of the piano, or 
else the power of the piano is smoothed out by 
the blend with the celesta, according to your point 
of view. 

The best comment on Stravinskies work, 
viewed from the purely technical standpoint, that 
I have ever seen is in an analysis of “The Rite of 
Spring” wherein the analyst spoke of certain 
chords, “apparently in C sharp minor.” Making 
harmonic or contrapuntal analysis of a Stravinski 
score is like making a prosodic analysis of “The 
Song of Myself.” It simply can’t be done. 

And just as the conventional cadences of verse 
were not for Whitman, so the conventional re- 
current rhythms of the older music were not for 
Stravinski. So he changes his time-signatures 
constantly, sometimes in every bar. On my desk 
as I write lies a copy of the three pieces for unac- 
companied clarinet. The first movement of the 
work is thirty measures long, and has twenty-two 
time signatures. The second movement is written 
without time; it is in the nature of a cadenza. 


30 



The third movement, sixty-one bars long, has 
forty-six time-signatures. While in the main this 
constant shift of time-signatures is necessary, Dr. 
George Dyson and others have pointed out that 
often it is merely an affectation. In many places, 
as the example from “Petrushka” that Dr. Dyson 
gives in his book The New Music , music that 
might have been written very simply is given a 
complex rhythmic character to the eye that it 
does not have at all to the ear. 

As has been mentioned before, Stravinski is- 
sues directly from Rimski-Korsakov, who taught 
him his technique, and from whom he derived 
much inspiration. “The Fire Bird” goes on where 
The Golden Cockerel and Katchei the Deathless 
leave off. “The Rite of Spring” is a sublimation 
of The Snow Maiden. But there is much that 
differentiates Stravinski from his master. 

Of his contemporary musicians none is like 
him. The French Six have certain resemblances 
to him, but, again to quote Mr. Moore, where 
they have one idea he has ten. And it might be 
added that the one idea of the Six (there are only 
five left in the group, but everyone still calls them 
the Six) may have been borrowed from Stra- 
vinski. 

If Stravinski is a trombone, Honegger is a 


31 



piccolo and Auric and Milhaud and Poulenc are 
what the jazzmen call “Chinese crash" cymbals. 
For all his sincerity of purpose everything to 
which Honegger turns his hand, seems to turn 
to a toy. The locomotive of “Pacific 23 1” is run 
by clockwork, the Roman soldier of “Horatius 
Victorious' 5 is a manikin of wood. Milhaud, prob- 
ably the most talented man of the Six, is a grin- 
ning “absinthe laugh' 5 in music. Poulenc and 
Georges Auric are playing with bright new rat- 
tles, voices and instruments. There is nothing of 
all this in Stravinski. 

In fact the only one of his contemporary ar- 
tists with whom Stravinski has a distinct affinity 
is Pablo Picasso. Picasso can draw as simple a 
line as Giotto. Stravinski can write as sweet a 
tune as Mozart. Yet neither of them can, by the 
very urge that causes them to create art works, 
produce in the Giottoesque or Mozartian manner. 

In Picasso the cubes of twentieth century box 
architecture find interpretation. The grotesque 
outlines of the machines that are the basis of 
modern life are rendered in terms of color and 
line. Stravinski does the same thing in tone that 
Picasso does on paper or canvas. They have no 
“message, 55 these men, the spirit of today simply 
gives them inspiration to create an art of today. 


32 



As I sat in a room of the Mozarteum at Salz- 
burg listening to a rehearsal of that piece of glit- 
tering geometry, the octet for wind instruments 
by Stravinsky I felt again the feeling I had 
standing in the engine room of the liner that 
brought me to Europe. “Machines,” I thought, 
“the art of the machine age.” 

And much the same idea came to Mr. Paul 
Rosen f eld, who expressed it so much more beau- 
tifully than I can that I am forced to quote from 
Musical Portraits: 

“With Stravinski the rhythms of machinery 
enter musical art. . . . Through him music has 
become again cubical, lapidary, massive, mecha- 
nistic. . . . There are come to be great, weighty, 
metallic masses, molten piles and sheets of steel 
and iron, shining adamantine bulks. Contours 
are become grim, severe, angular. Melodies are 
sharp, rigid, asymmetrical. Chords are uncouth, 
square, clusters of notes, stout and solid as the 
pillars that support roofs, heavy as the thuds of 
triphammers. Above all there is rhythm, rhythm 
rectangular and sheer and emphatic, rhythm that 
lunges and beats and reiterates and dances with 
all the steely perfect tirelessness of the machine, 
shoots out and draws back, shoots upward and 
shoots down, with the inhuman motion of titanic 


33 



arms of steel. 

. . Stravinski goes through the crowded 
thoroughfares, through cluttered places, through 
factories, hotels, wharves, sits in railway trains, 
and the glare and tumult and pulsation, the en- 
gines and locomotives and cranes, the whole mad 
phantasmagoria of the modern city, evoke im- 
ages in him, inflame him to reproduce them in all 
their weight and gianthood and mass, their black- 
ness and luridness and power / 5 

And to close this all too unsatisfactory dis- 
cussion there is nothing more fitting than a line 
from the same eminent critic. It was not said of 
Igor Stravinski, but fits him just the same : 
“Great Sun Musorgski, shine down upon your 
progeny ! 55 




Paul Whiteman. From a drawing by Herb Roth. 
By courtesy of the Metropolitan Musical Bureau. 

35 



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THE LATEST LIVELY ART 

I THINK it was John Alden Carpenter who did 
it. His “Krazy Kat” was probably the first 
piece of super-jazz, the first fusion of the jazz 
and the concert style, the first startling exhibition 
of the fact that the highbrows are taking up jazz. 

Six years ago anyone who suggested that the 
music of the American dance hall was America’s 


37 



most important contribution to the progress of 
the arts would have produced merely a raising of 
eyebrows among the heavy politicos of the con- 
servatories. Unceremoniously would he have 
been excommunicated from the cult of the .de- 
fenders of the faith of Johannes the Brahmin. 

Today the situation is reversed. Anyone in the 
profession of tone who does not believe in jazz is 
considered either slightly demented, or else as 
some sort of rare antique or fossil, comparable 
perhaps to a manuscript in the handwriting of 
Hucbald. 

What is this new creeping plant that is grad- 
ually disintegrating the ivory tower? How shall 
we define it? 

We can't. One can grow Websterish and say: 

“Jazz is syncopated dance music peculiar to 
America, in the rendition of which a certain kind 
of orchestra is employed. (See Orchestra.)’' 

Or one can grow fanciful and say: 

“Jazz is a cartoon by Goldberg scored for 
saxophone, banjo and drums.” 

Or wax Sandburgian: 

“Jazz is the laugh of a golden frog with a 
sliver of the moon lost in its belly.” 

In fact one can say numberless pretty and 
meaningless things about it and get nowhere. 



For that matter no word used to describe a 
school of music can be defined. When you try 
to define “romantic,” “classical,” “modem,” you 
eventually come face to face with the aged ghost- 
question “What is Art?” before which you flee. 

But this one can do. One can show how jazz is 
different from other kinds of music. 

Let us sweep back over the aeons to the days 
when people said “twenty-three skiddoo” and 
jazz was not. The ancients of the period danced 
to ragtime. One of their most popular pieces was 
“Too Much Mustard” which was described as 
“Turkey Trot Dance Music.” And “Too Much 
Mustard^’ was merely a bad march in a fast 
tempo . The monotony of its constantly repeated 
melody was unrelieved by any variation in in- 
strumentation or nuance. In other words, to use 
Robert E. Sherwood’s phrase, it was just terrible. 

I don’t know exactly what followed the turkey 
trot. It might have been the grapevine and it 
might have been the tango. At any rate the tango 
and the fox trot eventually held the stage, incor- 
ruptible, and ragtime was changed. It ceased to be 
a bad march and became something distinctive, at 
that time defined by no other name. Rhythms be- 
came syncopated, “breaks” occurred to relieve the 
monotony of the music. In fact, so far as the ac- 


35 



tual sound stuff of it was concerned, there was 
very little difference between ragtime and the 
newer jazz. But ragtime w T as different from jazz 
in this very essential particular — the jazz orches- 
tra had not yet come. The old dance orchestra 
had no saxophones, had no banjos or elaborate 
traps. The clarinet had not yet learned to scream, 
the trumpets were not gagged and so could not 
give out the multitudinous effects to which we are 
now accustomed. 

And then came jazz. In its earliest form it 
originated in the south, in New Orleans. “The 
Original Dixieland Jass Band” spread the new 
gospel, first in their home town, next on the roof 
of the La Salle Hotel in Chicago, then in New 
York, and finally through phonograph records. 

Their biggest hit was “The Livery Stable 
Blues.” To describe that masterpiece I must re- 
sort to an elaborate simile ; it sounded like a crazy 
clarinetist broadcasting from a boiler factory on 
a night when static was particularly bad. 

The melodic line of “The Livery Stable Blues”' 
was all but non-existent. Its rhythm was not ex- 
actly syncopated, it was simply goofy. And, so 
far as harmony w r as concerned, the wildest disso- 
nant dream of a Francis Poulenc is as Schubert's 
unfinished symphony by comparison. 


40 



“The Original Dixieland Jass Band” consisted 
of only a few players. No one was admitted to 
their number who could read notes. Ignorance of 
music was an essential to membership. Under 
such conditions they soon had hundreds of imi- 
tators. The word “jass” soon became sandpapered 
off into “jazz.” 

Then came the war. The country was deluged 
with cheap songs to drum up recruits and to 
squeeze cash out of the populace for “Liberty” 
loans. Hundreds of thousands of young men in 
training camps had to be amused to keep them 
from thinking. Under such conditions this baby 
of the lively arts, guided by its newly acquired 
godfather the saxophone, took on an astounding 
and unnatural growth. Publishers put out jazz 
songs by the million, cutting down on the size of 
the printed sheet for patriotic reasons and there- 
by adding a neat bit to the profits they made. 

After the war came a reaction, and the new 
jazz was made. Gone is the grinding, monotonous 
cacophony. No more do jazzmen improvise any 
old thing to get by. All effects are studied out 
and written down. But jazz it is, because the 
queer, new and beautiful orchestral effects of a 
band like Whiteman's are directly descended 
from those produced by that group of New Or- 


41 



leans boys who played together in a barn after 
their work was done. 

The jazz orchestra of today is a perfect instru- 
ment, as perfect in its field as a large symphony 
orchestra is in other fields. But, as Deems Taylor 
has pointed out, the jazz orchestra is up against 
a stone wall. It has nothing to play but stupid 
little songs. There is no form in music more ty- 
rannic than that of the popular song. The very 
number of measures in if is prescribed. A jazz 
melody of more or less than thirty-two bars will 
not be published. It must also have an introduc- 
tion of sixteen measures and a prelude of four, 
which sections of the piece serve no other pur- 
pose than to fill out the printed pages. 

Surely under such conditions the jazz orches- 
tra would have degenerated, unless one thing hap- 
pened. The highbrows had to take it up and 
save it. 

“Krazy Kat” was the first piece of super jazz 
Carpenter has followed it up with another ballet, 
“Skyscrapers,” in which much use is made of 
jazz rhythms. Then there are Gershwin’s “Rhap- 
sody in Blue” and Sowerby’s “Synconata.” Ed- 
ward Collins wrote a jazz movement in his piano 
concerto, which was quite appropriate, for if any 
form in music needs monkey glands it is the con- 


42 



certo. Eric Delamarter has written a jazz sym- 
phony in three movements. A grim, Ben Hechtic 
piece of jazz, which, it is rumored was written 
by the violinist Samuel Gardner and which was 
played on the contest program of the Evanston 
festival of 1925 did not win the prize, but that 
was the fault of the judges, not the composer. 
Maier and Pattison play a little jazz study for 
two pianos, by somebody or other. Stravinski has 
written pure jazz in “The Story of a Soldier/’ 
and perhaps in other works less known on this 
side of the Atlantic. The Sixmen have played 
around with it. Carl Ruggles has produced a piece 
called “Daniel Jazz” for trumpet sextet. When 
Casella visited America he took home with him 
a large number of jazz records, and perhaps he 
also will break out in the idiom. All this is not a 
tremendous list, but five years a gQ none of it 
existed at all, and before this is published works 
of similar nature may exceed the number men- 
tioned here. 

Another healthy development is the use of the 
jazz orchestra for non- jazz effects, as in Her- 
bert’s excellent suite of serenades. This is good, 
but not so important as the use of jazz rhythms 
in non- jazz forms. 

This music presents a totally different picture 


43 



from all the rest of contemporary tonal art. Com- 
pare for example a piece by Kern or Berlin with 
one by Stravinski. In Stravinski we have the 
modern fruit of ages of ripening civilization. The 
music reaches back over ages of Slav culture, 
back eventually to the soil and the peasants, the 
earth-people of Russia. 

Jazz is not the music of the land. It is the 
music of new cities. It blows across the American 
prairies, but does not come out of them. It is the 
music of hot-dog wagons and elevated trains, the 
music of morning papers published at nine in the 
evening, the music of the quick lunch and the 
signboard and the express elevator. If America 
contributes nothing more to the progress of the 
arts, in this she will have given enough. 


44 



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NUMBERS 


T HERE is to me something repulsive about 
the word “number” as applied to a piece of 
music. The word smells of the movie “cue sheet,” 
whereon little snips of tunes are written and 
numbered to be played in accompaniment to the 
pictures. For terror, Number Seventeen is to be 
played, for love, Number Four, and so on. 


45 



In the parlance of orchestra pits everything is 
a “number/’ from a Gregorian chant to a piece 
by Arnold Schoenberg. It may be that this label- 
ing of masterpieces can account for my disgust 
at the word, but it is more probably just an in- 
stinctive, inexplicable dislike. 


46 



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THE MUSICAL BABEL 


A CUSTOM of modern musicians which to 
me, as a performer and an avid reader of 
program notes, has been most annoying, is the 
custom of writing tempo and interpretative direc- 
tions in the native language of the composer. 
There is no reason, excuse or logic in back of it, 
save an uncomfortable chauvinism. 


47 



The custom is a fairly old one. Schumann did 
it, and Mendelssohn on occasion, but it was not 
until after Wagner that it became general. 

Wagner’s grandiose theories of the art work 
of the deutsches Volk probably led him to write 
everything connected with that art work in Ger- 
man. But he is startlingly inconsistent about it. 
He writes such directions as ein wenig rallen - 
tando on every page, and he uses ausdrucksvoll 
and espressivo several bars apart in the course 
of the same tune. 

If every composer did this sort of thing a 
musician would have to know English, French, 
German, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, Hebrew, 
Gaelic, Dutch, Swedish, and the other Scandi- 
navian tongues, Choctaw, Arabic, die schoenste 
lengevitch, Greek, Polish, and other Slavic lan- 
guages, as well as a certain amount of Japanese 
and Sanskrit to get by. 

There exists a musical Esperanto: the Italian 
language. For centuries Italian words have been 
used in music, until today every musician, no 
matter where he lives, understands the Italian 
adjectives and adverbs and nouns that are called 
musical terms. Allegro can be understood by the 
merest beginner in music, whether he lives in 
Kokomo or Madagascar, but fast, lebhaft and vif 


48 



may not have a tremendous amount of meaning 
in Moscow. There is really no necessity to write 
schneller als vorher , as Strauss does. Pin mosso 
says the same thing, and says it succinctly. 

Percy Grainger is the only composer I know of 
who does this thing with any tinge of consistency. 
Grainger writes loud and soft in connection with 
his English tempo directions, whereas all the 
others, from Wagner down to dTndy write pp 
and ff which are simply abbreviations of the 
Italian words pianissimo and fortissimo. 

If our directions are to be nationalized in this 
way, why not our notation? Why should there 
not be one set of musical symbols for the French, 
one for the English, another for the Germans, 
and so on? If we are going to make it difficult for 
musicians of other nations than our own to un- 
derstand how our music is to be played, why not 
make it so difficult that they can’t play it at all? 

Still, it can not be denied that sometimes the 
Italian symbols do not work. For example, in 
Francis Poulenc’s sonata for clarinet and bassoon 
occurs the phrase en dehors } literally, “out of 
doors,” meaning that the clarinet voice should 
stand well out from that of the bassoon. No Ital- 
ian term would fit here. Again, on occasion the 
musician wishes to convey some particularly 



poetic idea in connection with the performance 
of his music, such as the beautiful mysterieux, 
romantique, legendairc , of Skryabin, which poetic 
idea can not be gotten across with the conven- 
tional Italian words. But these are interpretative 
directions, and cases like the above are compara- 
tively rare in occurrence. On the whole the Ital- 
ian, with its manifest advantage of international 
application, is the best language for the composer 
to use. 

(And yet I sometimes wish certain men had 
stuck to their native tongues. If Balfe had written 
everything in Gaelic there would be far fewer 
performances of The Bohemian Girl and that 
would be a blessing.) 


50 



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SYNCOPATING SAXOPHONES 


I T IS a strange paradox in American musical 
affairs that the most popular instrument in 
the country today is the one about which the least 
is known by the laymen or even by the profes- 
sional. When one enquires concerning the his- 
tory of the saxophone in music schools one rarely 
gets any answer at all, for the simple reason that 


51 



the teachers as a rule consider the instrument 
below their dignity. 

The Average American Citizen knows even 
less than the professors. I have heard it said by 
those who hear the instrument over the radio 
every night, that : ( 1 ) the saxophone was in- 
vented in New York in 1915 by Irving Berlin; 

(2) it was invented by some German during the 
war, as an instrument with which to produce a 
moral decadence among the allies, and as such 
had the approval of the arch-Hun Hindenburg; 

(3) that it is a very old instrument resurrected 
during the war. 

These are not theories I have invented for the 
occasion. I have actually heard these wild fan- 
tasms solemnly stated as being the true history 
of the instrument. 

As a matter of fact the story of the saxophone 
is curious enough. It was not an invention. It was 
a happening, an occurrence, the most successful 
failure in all musical history. 

But before delving into the saxophonic ar- 
chives let us sketch briefly the career of the 
romantic character who discovered the instru- 
ment. 

Antoine Joseph Sax was born at Dinant, in 
Belgium, on the sixth of November, 1814. His 




father, Joseph Sax, was a well known instrument 
maker, who sent his son to Brussels to study the 
flute and clarinet. Antoine Sax, who called him- 
self Adolphe for no particular reason, worked in 
his father’s shop, and here began his experiments 
that led to the saxophone. In 1842 he went to 
Paris and set up shop as an instrument maker. 
In 1845 the saxophone was introduced into 
French army bands, and the following year it 
was patented. 

Sax was “the great-I-am” most of his life. He 
saw to it that a host of military men, composers, 
(among whom was Hector Berlioz) and news- 
paper men were on his side and singing his 
praises. Although scarcely a wind instrument in 
use today was not in some way improved by Sax 
(beside the subject of these lines he invented the 
family of saxhorns, which are the tubas of the 
modern brass band), he was not satisfied with the 
credit due him for his own genius, but appro- 
priated the credit due others for their inventions. 

Eventually Sax got a monopoly contract to 
supply instruments for the French army. The 
first thing he did was to abolish horns, oboes and 
bassoons from the official bands, not because 
these instruments are unsuitable for band work, 
but because it meant much money for him when 


54 



he replaced them with saxophones and saxhorns. 
When a reaction toward sanity came, the horns, 
oboes, and bassoons were restored but the Sax 
instruments were retained, thus enlarging the size 
of the band and swelling and sweetening its tone. 

Being no business man, the good Adolphe 
was always in hot water financially. Brilliant 
achievements were his, gold medals came at every 
exposition, but the francs ran through his fingers. 
Eventually he was forced to sell all his posses- 
sions and died in poverty and obscurity in 1894. 

In the above I have touched on only two of 
his inventions and on his many improvements. 
He also produced many queer, distorted pieces of 
musical distocia, none of which meant anything. 
It is, after all, the saxophone, and after that the 
saxhorns, that make this man important for us 
of today. 

And now as to the saxophone. It was the acci- 
dental outcome of attempted improvements on 
the bass clarinet. In order to show just what Sax 
was attempting to do to that instrument we shall 
have to go into the details of its construction. 

To the average concert goer the difference 
between the clarinet and the oboe is purely one 
of timbre. He knows that there is a difference in 
the reeds of the two, the clarinet having a single 



strip of cane vibrating against a rubber, wood, 
or glass mouthpiece, while the oboe has two 
pieces of cane vibrating against each other, and 
this explains the difference in his mind. 

Actually the difference is far greater. The oboe 
is a continuous cone from the small pipe that con- 
nects the reed with the wooden body of the in- 
strument down to the small bell. The clarinet, on 
the other hand, is a cylinder all the way down its 
length, except for the last few inches. 

This difference in the shape of the instruments 
accounts for vast differences in their respective 
techniques. On the oboe there is a key at the back, 
which, w r hen opened, lifts all fingerings an octave. 
Thus, roughly speaking, the fingerings in all oc- 
taves of the oboe are identical. An A on the first 
ledger line above the treble clef is fingered like 
the A on the second space of the same clef, with 
the exception that in the case of the first A the 
back thumb key is employed. 

The thumb key on the clarinet, however, due 
to the cylindrical bore of that instrument, lifts all 
fingerings an octave and a half. The two A’s re- 
ferred to above are not at all alike in fingering, 
for the positions in all octaves of the clarinet are 
different. Therefore, so far as finger technique is 
concerned, the clarinet is a much more compli- 



cated proposition than the oboe. 

Due to its tremendous size, the bass clarinet is 
even more complicated than the clarinet. If there 
is a more unwieldy, oversized, generally cussed 
instrument in the world than the bass clarinet it is 
not in use in everyday musical practice. (I speak 
from experience.) 

Therefore Sax set himself out tc improve the 
bass clarinet, by making the fingerings in all oc- 
taves of its range identical. As will be seen by 
the foregoing paragraphs, to do this he had to 
make his instrument conical in shape instead of 
cylindrical. Because of the difficulty, if not impos- 
sibility, of boring a continuous cone bent as a 
bass clarinet is bent in a piece of wood, Sax was 
forced to make the body of his new creation out 
of brass. So he made a conical brass clarinet, with 
certain modifications in the arrangement of the 
keys, and lo ! a new thing was born. In tone and 
technique it was not a bass clarinet at all. So the 
new thing was called “saxophone” by its father, 
who set himself to making a whole family of its 
kind, eventually making saxophones of six dif- 
ferent sizes. 

The subsequent history of the instrument is 
fairly well known. It was introduced into the 
bands of the French army, as I have pointed out 


57 



above, and became popular here as a dance or- 
chestra instrument during the war period. Be- 
cause of its continuous use as a jazz instrument 
there has come about an attitude on the part of 
the American public and the more ignorant class 
of American musicians that assumes that the in- 
strument is unsuited for anything else than jazz. 
Nothing is more fallacious. Perhaps it might be 
of interest to enumerate some of the works of 
“classical” composers in which the saxophone 
finds a part. 

Bizet — First “L’Arlesienne” suite. 

Co wen — Thor grim. 

Debussy — Rhapsody for saxophone solo with 
orchestra. 

Kastner — The Last King of Judea. 

Loeffler — “Divertimento Espagnole” for sax- 
ophone with orchestra. (I once wrote to Loeffler 
about this work and got back the following re- 
markable and unsigned screed : “Mr. Loeffler, who 
is ill at present, wishes to say to Mr. Franken- 
stein that the Rapsodie for saxophone and orches- 
tra is not published and that the score has been 
destroyed as well as the parts. The work was less 
than unimportant and hence its destruction is of 
no loss to the world.”) 

Meyerbeer — The Huguenots. 


58 



Reissiger — Saxophone sextet. 

Strauss — “Domestic” symphony. 

Thomas — Hamlet. 

This is merely an off-hand list of things I 
happen to know about. Doubtless it could be 
trebled in size with research. In it I have omitted 
mention of all super-jazz pieces by “classical” 
composers. 

When you stop to think about it the saxophone 
has made a remarkable success. It was more than 
thirty years before the clarinet was used outside 
of a military band, and more than a century be- 
fore it became an integral part of the symphony 
orchestra. 

In the seventies of the last century a man 
named Henri Kling was professor of instrumen- 
tation at the great Paris conservatory. He wrote 
a book on the subject he taught, and in that book 
he says of the saxophone, “the deeply religious 
nature of this instrument makes it unsuitable for 
use in dance music.” 

That was what they thought of the instrument 
in those days. And it is true that the saxophone is 
an instrument essentially liturgic in character. 
To prove this let me cite the case of the piece of 
super-jazz of the 1925 Evanston festival, re- 
ferred to in a previous chapter. This work, called 


59 



an American rhapsody, '‘Broadway," rises to a 
tremendous and deadly serious climax in the or- 
gan and orchestra. In the denouement occurs an 
acrid, ascetic, hard-edged saxophone solo as sug- 
gestive of jazz as “no" is suggestive of “yes." 

Or again let me refer you to that magnificent 
and extended saxophone solo in the first move- 
ment of Bizet’s first “L’Arlesienne” suite. And 
last of all let me invite you to go, at your own 
expense, to the next band concert that comes your 
way. Hear how the burden of the thick, warm, 
accompaniment is carried by the saxophone. Hear 
how the verdant, earthy, slow section of the over- 
ture to “Oberon” as arranged for band, depends 
upon the saxophone for its effect. 

The jazzmen have perfected their own aston- 
ishing technique with the instrument, as they have 
with all instruments, a technique as different from 
symphony orchestra playing as a photograph and 
a cartoon of the same subject are different (and 
a technique as difficult as symphony orchestra 
work), and that is good, but, in the case of the 
saxophone, let us not forget the deep and the 
warm and the mystic emotions it can exercise 
when played “straight,” for music can not afford 
to do without such instruments. 


60 



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LES GROTESQUES DE CHAYKOVSKI 

H AD BERLIOZ been alive to hear these two 
anecdotes about Chaykovski’s two worst 
works he would surely have included them in his 
Grotesques de la Musique. 

Once, a long time ago, a dear friend of mine 
who lives in Buffalo, heard a concert in that 
town which ended with the “March Slave.” An 


61 



elderly lady of the word-fountain class, in speak- 
ing about the concert later said to him, “Isn’t that 
Chaykovski number a wonderful thing? You 
know, when they played it I could just see those 
little pickaninnies running around!’' 

This is almost equaled by an experience of 
mine. A gentleman I know told me of a concert 
he had recently graced with his presence in Wash- 
ington. This program either opened or closed 
with the overture “ 1812 .” “Just think of it,” said 
he, “more than a hundred years after the British 
destroyed our capital they play a piece there cele- 
brating the war that the burning occurred in.” 


62 




WIND PLAYERS LUCKLESS 

I N THE morning mail have come three pam- 
phlets. One announces a series of recitals to 
be given during the next concert season, one an- 
nounces the courses and advertises the teachers 
of a well known conservatory, and one has to do 
with a contest for young musicians. 

Running my eye down the list of recitalists I 


63 



see the same old story. Pianists, violinists, sing- 
ers; singers, pianists, violinists, with a ’cellist or 
two thrown in. They will all play the same pro- 
grams. If twelve violinists visit us on this concert 
series ten will play the Mendelssohn concerto. 
We shall not escape at least five performances 
of the invocation of Orpheus in old Jacopo 
Peri’s opera, and a piano recital without the usual 
Chopin waltzes and nocturnes and the customary 
Beethoven sonatas would not be a piano recital. 

Of all these announced recitals perhaps half a 
dozen will be superb. I doubt that one will be bad. 
Most of them will keep a dead level of mediocre 
excellence. 

If the recitalists would only give us something 
new we could excuse them some of their faults. 
But novelty they will not present. They claim the 
critics will not give them enough attention if 
they do so. There are critics and critics, but the 
only ones whose opinions really mean anything, 
far from disparaging an artist who plays or sings 
new stuff, will rise from the house and kiss him. 

Turning to the conservatory bulletin I find 
the teachers most advertised are those who teach 
the piano, voice and violin. In this respect the 
music schools bear a remarkable resemblance to 
the salt mill in the Sinbad story. 


64 



Across the top of the contest advertisement is 
printed, “Contest for young artists in piano, 
voice, and violin.” 

The conservatories advertise the teachers of 
three other instruments, but not so extensively as 
the teachers of the Trinity. The harp, violoncello 
and organ get considerable attention in the 
schools. The first two are heard too infrequently, 
and a recital on either is a boon to the harried 
critic. 

The organ finds extensive use in two institu- 
tions, the church and the movie palace. In the 
former it is merely an organ. In the latter it is 
never anything but a $1,000,000 Grande Organ. 

The church organ in the service is used, most 
frequently, to accompany bad hymns. When it 
is used in good religious music it generally plays 
orchestra parts, and it can never play them ef- 
fectively. 

Occasionally we hear an organ recital in a 
church. I remember one such organ recital on the 
program of which was not a symphony by Widor. 
Therefore the organist was censured by his col- 
leagues. Leaving aside the fact that organ sym- 
phonies by poor Widor are played too often, 
they should never be played at all, for they are 
as mediocre as Sinding’s orchestral symphonies. 


65 



Doubtless there is a large literature of solo music 
for organ, but we may thank the players of the 
instrument for keeping it hidden. 

The organ in the movie palace is put to worse 
uses than it is in church. Here its big function is 
to plug cheap songs that are too bad to sell by any 
other means. 

About a dozen times in a season we are given 
concerts of chamber music, generally made up of 
string trios and quartets. So far as I know no 
trio or quartet organization in American musical 
history has succeeded in filling a hall. This is a 
shame, for there are great works written for the 
quartet, such as Chausson’s essay of that form, 
and Beethoven’s many examples of it, and many, 
many others. And yet in a large measure the 
American public is justified in staying away from 
the chamber music hall. For the average cham- 
ber concert is not a concert but a Solemn Rite. It 
is as serious as a funeral, as grave as I imagine 
a canonization ceremony at St. Peter's would be. 
It would be so easy to loosen up the solemnity of 
these performances by an occasional perform- 
ance of a wind octet, or an oboe, viola and piano 
trio, or any other of the hundreds of pieces of 
chamber music in which wind instruments are 
used, but never a note of this literature is heard. 


66 



It is easy to see why the voice leads the recital 
field. No instrument can rival the voice in flexi- 
bility and subtlety of expression. A Shalyapin re- 
cital takes us to the heights, a recital by Signora 
Galli-Curci-Samuels sometimes does. (Do not 
misunderstand this. The bell song in Lakme is 
a superb tour de force of vocalization and mel- 
ody, but what excuse is there for a “Mad 
Scene 5 ’?) 

And what the piano lacks in tone is made up 
by its marvelous power of conveying harmonic 
material, a power in which only the orchestra sur- 
passes it. 

But, compared with wind instruments, I rather 
gag at the violin. Why this instrument should 
control the field of recital work for non-harmonic 
instruments I can not understand. I am not dis- 
paraging it, for works like the third concerto that 
Saint-Saens wrote for it have a beauty and charm 
that could have been expressed through no other 
medium, but I maintain that the clarinet and oboe 
and English horn, and, properly handled, the 
trumpet and French horn, are capable of just as 
infinite varieties of expression as the violin. 

And yet there is no chance for players of wind 
instruments to break into the recital hall. The 
conservatories pay scant attention to them, hiring 


67 



beer garden orchestra men to teach them, and 
offering no scholarships or any other advantages 
to students of these instruments. 

The clubs that run the contests, which are gen- 
erally a great incentive to work among the con- 
testants, rarely, if ever, offer the wind player any 
chances. And it goes without saying that no man- 
ager ever books a player of a wind instrument. 

Certain musicians, intellectually of the sub- 
merged tenth, will tell you that wind instruments 
suffer from some mysterious artistic deficiency 
that makes them unfit for use in solo work. This 
stupendous foolishness can be disproved in two 
ways, first by pointing out the numberless solos 
for wind instruments in orchestral literature 
(such as the second movement of the Brahms 
fourth symphony, the second movement of the 
Dvorak fifth symphony, the nocturne in the 
“Midsummer Night’s Dream” music, and the 
slow movement of Chaykovski’s fourth sym- 
phony) and the fact that many of the greatest 
masters of music have contributed to the litera- 
ture of wind solo. -Had such a deficiency existed 
as these good people claim there would be no 
Handel oboe concertos, and no Spohr clarinet 
concertos. 

It is true that there is not a very large litera- 


68 



ture for wind solo, but that is easily explained. 
Not until recent times did wind instruments at- 
tain the mechanical perfection that the violin has 
had for centuries. The violin was a perfected 
thing before the clarinet was even invented. But 
there is a sufficiently large wind solo repertory 
for all practical purposes. Let us look over the 
repertory for the instrument with which I am 
best acquainted, the clarinet. Many of the pieces 
listed below I have in my library. I include cham- 
ber works, in which the clarinet has a prominent 
part. 

Brahms — Two sonatas, clar. and pf. (Op. 120) 
Trio, clar. pf. and ’cello. (Op. 114) 

Quintet, clar. and strings. (Op. 115) 
Beethoven — Trio, clar. pf. and ’cello. (Op. 11) 
Three duets, clar. and bassoon. (Op. 147) 
Busoni — Concertino, clar. and small orchestra. 
Coleridge-Taylor — Four waltzes, clar. and pf. 
Debussy — Rhapsody, clar. and orch. 

Small piece, clar. and pf. 

Honegger — Three pieces for clar. and pf. 

Mason, (Daniel G.) — Pastoral, clar., pf. and vio- 
lin. (Op. 8) Sonata, clar. and pf. (Op. 14) 
Mendelssohn — Two pieces for clar. and alto clar. 
with pf. (Opp. 113 and 114) Sonata, clar. and 
pf. (unpublished) 


69 



Meyerbeer — The Loves of Tevelind e,&n opera for 
soprano, clar. obligato and chorus. The clarinet 
player has a dramatic part on the stage. 

Mozart — Concerto for clar. and orch. 

Quintet for clar. and strings. 

Adagio for two alto clars. and bassoon. 
Adagio for two clars. and three alto clars. 
Poulenc — Sonata for clar. and bassoon. 

Reger — Three sonatas for clar. and pf. (Opp. 
49 and 197) 

Schumann — Fantasy pieces for clar. and pf. 
Spohr — Two concertos for clar. and orch. (Opp. 
26 and 57) 

Potpourri for clar. and pf. (Op. 80) 

Fantasia and Variations for clar. and pf. 
(Op. 81) 

Six German songs with clar. and pf. (Op. 103) 
Stravinski — Three pieces for clar. unaccompa- 
nied. 

Trio, “The Story of a Soldier” for violin, pf. 
and clar. 

Four songs, “Lullabies of a Cat” for contralto 
and three clars. 

Taneiev — Arabesque for clar. and pf. 

Weber — Concertino for clar. and orch. (Op. 26) 
Two concertos for clar. and orch. (Opp. 73 
and 74) 


70 



Quintet for clar. and strings. (Op. 34) 
Variations for clar. and pf. (Op. 33) 

Concert duet for clar. and pf. (Op. 48) 

The above list includes only clarinet works by 
composers of outstanding fame. It is far from 
complete, but probably takes in a good two-thirds 
of all such works. In compiling it I have left out 
the chamber works in which the instrument does 
not take an outstanding part, such as the octets 
for wind of Beethoven and Stravinski and the 
serenades for wind of Wolf and Strauss. 

A list three times as long as the one above 
could be made of the clarinet works by clarinet 
players such as Lazarus, the Baermann family, 
and Ivan Mueller. Above all, the magnificent 
blood and thunder caprices of Ernesto Cavallini, 
comparable to the violin caprices of Paganini, 
should be included in such a list. 

Of clarinet transcriptions there exist uncata- 
loged hordes. 

I do not claim that every work mentioned here 
is a masterpiece, but if every recitalist played 
only masterpieces there would be far fewer re- 
citals. I do claim that there is much good music 
written for the clarinet, flute, oboe, and French 
horn that should be played and is not. Why it is 
not I am at a loss to discover. As I have endeav- 


71 



ored to show in the opening paragraphs of this 
essay, there are good and valid reasons for put- 
ting it on public programs. 

There is hope for the future in one regard. 
As I said before only recently did wind instru- 
ments attain the mechanical perfection that 
stringed instruments have had for centuries. The 
modern composers, by virtue of this fact, are 
writing far more music for these instruments 
than formerly. So the inevitable trend of musical 
progress will eventually bring the wind instru- 
ment into the recital hall and chamber music 
room where it has a rightful place. 


72 




A CHICAGO SYMPHONY 


O NCE when the Chicago Symphony orches- 
tra had played the London Symphony of 
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Mr. Edward Moore, 
in his review of the performance in The Chicago 
Tribune , suggested that something of the kind 
could be done for Chicago. 

The idea is fascinating. Williams’ work is a 


73 



masterpiece, not only as pure music, but also be- 
cause it is probably the only piece of program 
music in existence that follows closely and abso- 
lutely its program. (The joker is that after Albert 
Coates wrote the program, Williams repudiated 
what Coates had written — but that is beside the 
point.) 

The London symphony presents the city from 
a standpoint that fuses both sociology and ro- 
mance. The aged, mysterious Thames forms its 
undercurrent, and on top of it are presented suc- 
cessively the noise and jar of London streets, the 
brooding, haunting aspect of slums in fog, the 
pathos and joy of a slum jollification, and last 
of all a determined, gaunt, revolutionary “Hun- 
ger March 1 1 of those who watch others eat. 

Now there is a man who has been doing this 
sort of thing about Chicago in words, and has 
become world famous thereby. The first poem of 
Carl Sandburg to attract any attention was about 
Chicago “Hog Butcher for the World.' 1 So if we 
want a symphony about Chicago Sandburg’s writ- 
ings can furnish us with a program. 

Here is the literary outline for a Chicago sym- 
phony (or pedantically speaking a suite) in five 
movements, none of them very long. The quota- 
tions for all the movements but the third are 


74 




Carl Sandburg. From a sketch by 
Rosendo Gonzales 


from “The Windy City/' that for the third move- 
ment is an entire poem from Sandburg's first 
book, Chicago Poems . 

1 — Largo , Molto maestoso e solenne 

“'So between the Great Lakes, 

The Grand Detour and the Grand Prai- 
rie, 

The living lighted skyscrapers stand, 
Spotting the blue dusk with checkers 
of yellow." 

( Full orchestra, emphasis on the dark colors, 
’ celli , basses , bassoons, bass clarinet, tuba , trom- 
bones.) 

2 — Adagio — 

. . .the monotonous houses go mile on 
mile 

Along monotonous streets out to the 
prairies — " 

(A troubled and mournful music. A sort of 
cubistic blue twilight expressed in tone. ) 

3 — Scherzetto, Allegretto — 

“The fog comes 
on little cat feet. 

It sits looking 
over harbor and city 
on silent haunches 
and then moves on." 



{Light scoring , mainly muted violins , with 
brass wood and percussions handled delicately as 
punctuation and contrast.) 

4 — Scherzo , Allegro con fuoco — 

“. . . .the jazz timebeats 
Of . . . .clumsy mass shadows 
Moan in saxophone undertones.” 

( A jazz movement with jazz scoring. Saxo- 
phones and banjos must be brought into the sym- 
phony orchestra for this. As a trio there should 
be a wailing sentimental tune } contrasting the 
snappy jazz of the other themes.) 

5 — Allegro tempestuoso — 

“If the big houses with little families 
And the little houses with big families 
Sneer at each other’s bars of misunder- 
standing ; 

Pity us when we shackle and kill each 
other 

And believe at first we understand 
And later say we wonder why.” 

( Dissonant , biting , furious , acrid ) nervous . 
Like a piece by Darius Milhaud with Milhaud 3 s 
humor left out.) 

Now of course this is very sketchy. Really the 
best program for a Chicago symphony would be 
the entire poem “The Windy City/' but I have 



tried to show here how the individual movements 
should go, by means of quotations. 

I give this idea free to any composer who 
wants it, provided that he let me edit the work or 
destroy it before it is submitted either to pub- 
lisher or conductor. 


78 




THE SINGERS’ A 


I WONDER why singers insist on softening 
the English short “a” into “ah.” Nobody ever 
sings about “the glowing sands” ; it is always “the 
glowing sonds.” This softening often leads to 
ridiculous distortions of the language because it 
is almost always overdone. 

But, the singers will counter, “a” is a coarse, 


79 



unmusical sound. Promptly they will pronounce 
a flat caricature of an ‘‘a,” that, so far as I know, 
exists in no language of the earth. There are cer- 
tain words containing “a” that can not be sof- 
tened up in this way, “black” for example. I 
venture to say that I have heard this word sung 
a hundred times or more, and never have I heard 
a singer foolish enough to pronounce it “block.” 

Now if the English “a” can be sung in “black” 
without wrecking the performance, why not in 
every instance? 

I have heard it done with good effect a number 
of times. The “a” is softened just a trifle; it is 
scarcely different from the ordinary speaking 
vowel, and the words in which it occurs get over 
with none of their significance distorted by mis- 
pronunciation. 


80 



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BRAHMS AND THE TYRANNY OF FORM 


T HE CONCERTO of Brahms does not 
please me better than any other of his works. 
He is certainly a great musician, even a master, 
but, in his case, his mastery overwhelms his in- 
spiration. So many preparations and circumlocu- 
tions for something which ought to come and 
charm us at once — and nothing does come but 


81 



boredom. His music is not warmed by any gen- 
uine emotion. It lacks poetry, but makes great 
pretensions to profundity. These depths contain 
nothing; they are void. Take the opening of the 
concerto, for instance. It is an introduction, a 
preparation for something fine; an admirable 
pedestal for a statue; but the statue is lacking, 
we only get a second pedestal piled upon the first. 
I do not know whether I have properly expressed 
the thoughts, or rather feelings which Brahms* 
music awakes in me. I mean to say that he never 
expresses anything, or, w r hen he does, he fails to 
express it fully. His music is made up of frag- 
ments of some indefinable something , skilfully 
welded together. The whole lacks definite con- 
tour, color, life/’ 

The above criticism was written by a man who 
had the colossal bad taste to suggest that Parsi- 
fal was good ballet material, and who was so 
myopic in his musical outlook as to call Boris 
Godunov “the lowest, commonest parody of 
music.*’ It is taken from a letter written by Chay- 
kovski to Nadeshda von Meek in 1880. The con- 
certo mentioned is the one for violin. 

Exaggerated as it is, however, Chaykovski’s 
opinion of Brahms is essentially true. How mas- 
terfully the Russian describes some movements 


82 



of the second and third symphonies of the Ger- 
man in the phrase: “His music is made up of 
fragments of some indefinable something , skil- 
fully welded together.” Of the piano concertos 
there is no simile like Chaykovski’s two pedestals. 

The trouble with Brahms was that his inspira- 
tion was rarely more than thirty-two measures 
long. The extended concerto and symphony 
forms were not the outgrowth of a torrent of 
melody inside him. It seems rather that he 
thought of composing a symphony and deliberate- 
ly sat down with his tunes and worked them into 
sonata form, making use of his unexcelled tech- 
nical mastery to fill in what inspiration could 
never fill in. 

In listening to the second and third symphonies 
and the last movement of the fourth, in hearing 
any of the concertos but the one for violin and 
’cello, the obvious brain work bores us to death. 
A tiny tune, and then so much restatement, de- 
velopment, variation that we could rise in revolt. 
The tunes themselves are masterful, and rarely 
more than thirty-two bars long. All the rest is 
merely machine made music for the purpose of 
filling out an arbitrary form. 

Had Brahms stuck to his songs and his piano 
pieces he would today be regarded as a much 


83 



greater man. For music of the intellect soon is 
forgotten, and music written in response to the 
inward, vital and compelling force of genius re- 
mains a long time. 



/m 




ON MUSIC CRITICISM 

“Criticism is the adventures of a soul among 
masterpieces.” — Anatole France. 

“The critic is like a carpenter who admires the 
workmanship of a chair without sitting in it. 
Charles D. Isaacson. 

“C’est mal.”— The melancholy prince in Pro- 
kofyev’s opera The Love for Three Oranges. 

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“MUSIC AFTER THE GREAT WAR" 
[a review after ten years] 


I N 1915 Mr. Carl Van Vechten published a 
book called Music After the Great War, in 
the first chapter of which, the title chapter, he 
predicts what music will be like after the war is 
over. Today this chapter makes interesting, if not 
astonishing, reading. For Van Vechten is unim- 
peachably right in his major premise, but falls 


89 



far short in the lesser predictions. The conclu- 
sion is not that Mr. Van Vechten was a one- 
lung prophet (for he was an important and true 
prophet as far as he went ) , but rather that music 
history is just one damned thing after the other. 

Says Van Vechten in his opening lines : 

“Some say that music as an art ended with 
Richard Wagner’s death. There are only a few, 
however, who do not include Brahms and Chay- 
kovski in the list of those graced with the crown 
of genius. There are many who are generous 
enough to believe that Richard Strauss and 
Claude Debussy have carried on the divine torch. 
But there are only a few discerning enough to 
perceive that Stravinski and Schoenberg have 
gone only a step further than the so-called im- 
pressionists in music.” 

How strange this sounds to us, ten years after ! 
With ‘The Fire Bird” and “Petrushka” on pho- 
nograph records, with the recent visit of Stra- 
vinski fresh in mind, with Schoenberg so often 
in our concert halls (but not enough in the con- 
cert halls of the west), it seems incredible that 
anyone should have had to defend these men. 

Another of Van Vechten’ s statements in the 
beginning is this : 

“Now, it should be apparent to anyone but the 


90 



oldest inhabitant that the music dramas of Rich- 
ard Wagner are aging rapidly. Public interest in 
them is on the decline, thanks to an absurd recog- 
nition, in some degree or other, everywhere from 
Bayreuth to Paris, from Madrid to New York, 
of what is known as the 'Master’s tradition.’ 
Some of this tradition has been invented by Frau 
Cosima Liszt von Buelow Wagner, and all of it 
is guaranteed to put the Wagner plays rapidly in 
a class with the operas of Donizetti and Bellini, 
stalking horses for prima donnas trained in a cer- 
tain school.” 

This is foolish, and almost as absurd as Van 
Vechten’s now notorious remark to the effect that 
chamber music was made for the pleasure of 
playing, not the pleasure of hearing. If the fore- 
going paragraph was not a conscious or uncon- 
scious pandering to the spirit of war hysteria 
that dragged the filth of international politics 
into the concert room and drove the Germans out 
of the opera house, then it was an outgrowth of 
bad taste. If the operas of Wagner are rapidly 
aging, then the symphonies of Beethoven are 
dead and buried, and the oratorios of Handel 
and the symphonies, operas and concert pieces of 
Mozart are museum relics. Hooray! Let us be 
modernists down to our toes. Let us not admit 



that any work of art over twenty years old is 
really Art. 

Van Vechten is partly right about the Wagner 
tradition. The operas of Wagner will never, of 
course, be in a class with the works of Donizetti 
and Bellini, but observance to strict traditions 
puts a quietus on originality in interpretation. 
Still, if Appia could put Wagner on in the Ap- 
pian way, in Munich too, and come out of it 
alive there is hope that the Wagner traditions 
will some day pass away. I think they may die 
when Frau Cosima and Siegfried and the rest 
of the Wahnfried gang do. We are beginning to 
accept variations of all sorts in our Beethoven, 
and praise those who, beside giving us new inter- 
pretations of the works, actually add extra wind 
parts to them. When we have got as far away 
from Wagner as we are from Beethoven the tra- 
ditions of Bayreuth will be no more. 

Van Vechten surveys the musical field of 1915 
and from that data makes his prophecy. Let us 
summarize his survey. 

He begins with Germany, and justly finds Ger- 
many played out musically. Goldmark, Humper- 
dinck, Pfitzner, Kienzl, Thuille, and Strauss are 
the biggest men he can find. Reger he does not 
consider a big man. None of these, he thinks, will 



contribute to ante-bellum music. Most of them, 
Strauss and Reger and Humperdinck, for exam- 
ples, are musically dead. 

He goes to Austria, and there finds two potent 
men, men whom he thinks will play a large part 
in music after the war. They are Erich Korngold 
and Arnold Schoenberg. Korngold was then only 
eighteen. 

In France he finds many eminent has-beens, 
such as Dukas, Ravel, Satie, Debussy, dTndy, 
Charpentier and Schmitt. None of these he thinks 
sufficiently young in ideas to contribute to music 
after the conflict. 

Puccini and some other Italians Van Vechten 
dismisses. He finds Zandonai, however, an origi- 
nal force, and one which he thinks will do big 
things. 

He expresses hope that Granados and Albeniz 
will do much in Spain. 

Van Vechten dismisses Elgar, faintly praises 
Cyril Scott, and lumps Holbrooke, Delius, Grain- 
ger, Wallace and Bantock in one discarding sen- 
tence. (I rather disagree with him here. It was 
not Bantock’ s fault that he was not born in 
Samarcand. His Orientalism was good and tune- 
ful. He is dead now, so his contribution to post- 
war music can not have been much. Delius and 


93 



Grainger were certainly worthy of more than 
mere mention. And can it be possible that Van 
Vechten had not heard of Williams? The latter’s 
London symphony was written in 1912.) 

In America he finds only such pale talents as 
those of Nevin, MacDowell, Hadley and Parker. 

In Finland Van Vechten finds the hard, North- 
ern genius of Sibelius, and hopes for contribu- 
tions from him in the future. 

He finally winds up in Russia, and concludes 
that from that country the ante-bellum musical 
genius will come. And yet he sees only one man 
on the horizon in Russia, Stravinski. He thinks 
Szymanovski of Poland will help some, but out- 
side of Stravinski no pure Russian is mentioned 
by Van Vechten as a future creator of music. 

When we look over the music of today we are 
struck at how true Van Vechten’ s negative con- 
clusions were. None of the men he said would 
do nothing has done anything. On the other hand, 
men to whom he looked forward have done little. 
Many of those he mentioned are dead. 

Now let us go once more over the map, ala the 
author of Music After the Great War and see 
just what the situation is today. 

Germany is still musically played out. Strauss 
is still with us and still composing. Of late, so the 


94 



papers tell us, he has written a concerto for a 
one-armed pianist. There are possibilities here, in 
writing music for physically disabled men. I 
know a one-eyed trombone player who could 
profit by the ministrations of Dr. Strauss. 

But what is more important in connection with 
the music of Herr Doctor Richard is that what 
he wrote in the past is beginning to get bald. His 
“Hero’s Life,” we are beginning to see, is not a 
work in which he bares his soul, he merely un- 
covers his anatomy. “Zarathustra” sounds inco- 
herent and feeble today. Boris Godunov with 
Shalyapin is a masterwork, and so is Salome with 
Mary Garden. But where Musorgski’s opera with- 
out the star is still a masterwork, Strauss’ with- 
out the leading actress is not. 

As to the Austrians, Korngold and Schoen- 
berg, the situation is much the same today as in 
1915. Neither has repeated. I have heard the 
former’s suite of tunes for “Midsummer Night’s 
Dream” (really Mr. Stein, of sclioenste lenge- 
vitch fame must do something with the German 
title of this, “Viel Laermcn um Nichts 33 ) and it 
is nothing startling. I have not heard his opera, 
The Dead City } but it has been universally kicked 
around by every critic who knows what he is 
talking about. But Korngold is still very young. 



(I hope he didn’t die during the war. I really 
don’t know if he is alive or not.) 

Debussy died three years after Van V echten’s 
book came out. It was impossible for anyone to 
follow in his footsteps. For where the music of a 
Borodin or Rimski-Korsakov springs from the 
common heredity and experience of a nation and 
hence is the legitimate source of a school, De- 
bussy’s music springs from the nervous system of 
one man and from nothing else. His is the art of 
sense impressions. An odor, a color, the feel of 
the wind were distilled thru his body into music. 
No one without a similar nervous makeup could 
follow him in creation of such music. 

Now the other has-beens Van Vechten men- 
tions, particularly d’Indy and Ravel, are peculiar- 
ly lively has-beens. It is a ticklish business, this, of 
saying a composer’s work is done. I imagine they 
said the same thing of the latter day Rossini, and 
then he turned around and surprised them all with 
the “Stabat Mater,” his best work, and William 
Tell , the overture to which is his most popular 
work. 

But Satie is still alive, if not in his own work, 
then in that of the Six. For Auric and Poulenc, 
Milhaud and Honegger, are his artistic sons. I 
am not well enough acquainted with the works 



of Germain Taillefer to say anything about her. 
They are not a startlingly great lot, the Six, but 
they have cleverness. Milhaud will probably prove 
to be the biggest of them all. The prelude and 
fugue of his second orchestral suite has genius 
in it. 

I confess I haven’t the slightest idea who this 
man Zandonai may be. I have been fairly alive 
to contemporary music, but, not until I read Van 
Vechten did I hear of him. He may yet be doing 
something, so far as I know. 1 

But there is a large and flourishing Italian 
school of whom Van Vechten could know noth- 
ing in 1915. Casella, Respighi, Pick-Mangiagalli, 
Malipiero, and many others have come to the fore 
since the war. Casella is perhaps the most brilliant 
of these, but Respighi is the biggest. This last 
has been studying deeply the old liturgic music 
of Italy. And great and glorious use he will make 
of it, if his Gregorian concerto for violin is a 
foretaste of what is to come. There is real 
genius in his “Fountains of Rome.” 

Malipiero is an experimenter. Like Richard 


'After the above confession of abysmal ignorance was 
written Mr. Moore, then in Italy, reported having heard 
Zandonai’s Romeo and Juliet , which he regards as a fairly 
hot opera. 



Strauss in his symphonic poems, he is writing 
music from his head. His works, such as “The 
Pauses of Silence 1 * and the “Impressions of Na- 
ture 51 are laboratory pieces, made to see the ef- 
fect of bizarre subject matter, and new harmonies 
and new instrumentation. Others may build on 
his foundations. 

Granados died during the war, and that was a 
great tragedy. I do not care much for his 
“Dante” symphony, but I have read that his 
Goycscas is an opera of great beauty. But an- 
other composer has arisen in Spain. Manuel de 
Falla has come to us, not decked out like a Don 
Jose, but giving something of the real heart of 
Spain, which heart has a peculiar 6/8 rhythm. 
The bolero is in de Falla’s blood. He must give us 
much. 

Now as to America. No one could foresee the 
super jazz movement. I have dwelt on that at 
length elsewhere, so I merely mention it here. 
As for non- jazz music — it is a healthy sign 
that as the New Englanders die off their school 
dies with them. For the New Englanders wrote 
second-hand British music, and the Britishers in 
the main wrote second-hand German music. 

It is also good that the cigar store Indian 
school of MacDowell, Busch and Cadman is not 


98 



growing. That school had its root not in a real 
desire to preserve Indian music, but in a desire 
to sentimentalize it beyond endurance. 

It is queer that two Bantocks should arise in 
this country, one in San Francisco and one in 
Pittsburgh. I am not too well acquainted with the 
Chinese music of Edgar Stillman Kelley, but if it 
is as good as the apparently authentic Oriental- 
isms of Henry Eichheim it is real stuff. 

Richard Washburn Child once propounded the 
question "Is there a Beethoven in Hoboken? 7 " If 
there isn’t one there I think there is one in Chi- 
cago. I hope I am not too myopically local when I 
speak of Leo Sowerby in these terms. In one 
page of "King Estmere” is more genius and in- 
spiration than in all of Elgar. 

The New York critics, particularly Rosenfeld, 
send us much news of one Edgar Varese, who is, 
apparently the apotheosis of impressionism, 
cubism, primitivism and all the rest of it in tone. 
Maybe so. 

Van Vechten was right about Sibelius. But if 
he has done much since the war it has not crossed 
over this way. Alfven has painted the North in 
other terms. His is the spirit of Vermeer of Delft 
in music. All is light and color and joy in his 
work. 


99 



There is an astonishing parallel between what 
is going on in present-day English music and the 
musical manifestations of Russia fifty years ago. 
The Russians had been dominated by the Ger- 
mans, until Glinka pointed the way out, and Dar- 
gomijski and Balakirev led the exodus back to 
the musical soil of Russia. 

So with the English. There is a great move- 
ment to go back to the English folk tune and 
build it up from that. In Williams, Goossens, 
Holst, Warlock and Ireland England speaks, not 
the halfbreed Germany that we hear in Elgar. 
And Bax brings us to Irish soil. 

Before going to Russia there is one group 
that must be mentioned here. The Bohemians are 
beating the war drums loud and long for their 
composers. But we do not get to hear much mod- 
ern Czecho-Slovakian music. The reason for this 
is that the modern Czecho-Slovakian school is 
quite young, and owes much to the intense nation- 
alist feeling aroused in that new country by its 
liberation from Germany. Now it is almost law 
in musical affairs that a new composer or school 
of composers, especially a foreign composer or 
school, does not get a hearing in the concert room 
until he or it has been flayed or dissected or puffed 
in the magazines. 



Czechoslovakia has produced one Dvorak and 
one Smetana, and there are probably more 
Dvoraks and Smetanas, more symphonies and 
Bartered Brides , to be heard from. 

Szymanovski, the Pole, has created a stir in 
New York. I am unacquainted with his work, 
and so can say nothing about him, but surely a 
composer who has caused enthusiasm such as 
Szymanovski has must have something to say. 

And now as for Russia. Stravinski strides over 
the musical world of today, colossal, unrivalled, 
superb in his artistry. But there are other Rus- 
sians, Prokofyev, author of the queerest fairy 
opera the world has yet heard, The Love for 
Three Oranges. It is a great pity that this work 
remains unheard, the scenery in storage in Chi- 
cago, the score in the library of the Chicago Civic 
Opera. It was a treat that Boris Anisfeld and 
Prokofyev gave us in the few performances the 
opera had. Maybe someday when Mr. Isaacson 
has delivered enough lectures in packing plants, 
and Mr. Johnson and Mr. Insull have enough 
cash on hand , -The Love for Three Oranges will 
again be trotted out. Let us hope so. 

Eminent has-beens there are in Russia. Gla- 
zunov and Gliere, and Ippolitov-Ivanov. Of 
these Gliere is the biggest. I think his is the big- 

101 



gest genius of present-day music, next to Stra- 
vinski. How many times have you heard “The 
Sirens” ? Do you not get the same thrill every 
time you hear the passage in the stopped horns 
signifying the approach of the ship to the fatal 
rock? If you are lucky enough to live in Chicago 
you will get the biggest thrill of your lifetime if 
you hear the “Ilya Mourometz” symphony, with 
its climax in organ and orchestra, like to nothing 
in the world. (That climax is partly Frederick 
Stock’s doing. He wrote the organ part.) 

Glazunov never was a big man. He was always 
a sort of super-Delibes, a writer of elegant bal- 
lets. Even in “Stenka Razin” he never forgets his 
polish long enough to be really human. 

But of new music little has come out of Rus- 
sia. Russia has gone through the greatest revolu- 
tion in the history of the world. Whether eco- 
nomic conditions have prevented the Russians 
who live in Russia from composing (remember 
that Stravinski and Prokofyev do not live in 
their native country), or whether the anti-Rus- 
sian blockade that has kept all but evil reports 
from reaching us has stopped the passage of new 
Russian music across I do not know. I heard 
some very beautiful songs in Europe, composed 
recently by a young Russian named Alexander 


102 



Senschin. If musical composition in Russia keeps 
to the levels of Gliere, Stravinski, Prokofyev and 
this man Senschin in a very short time Russia will 
lead the world in the art of tone. 



Of this first edition of Syncopating Saxophones , 
Alfred Frankenstein’s first book, 600 copies ( of 
which goo are for sale) were printed in Chicago in 
November , 1925. The book was designed ( after the 
composition had been completed) by Vojtech Preis- 
sig in an attempt to show the possibility of typo- 
graphic salvation through design under ordinary 
printing trade conditions. The type is Linotype Old 
Style. The dashes at the top and bottom of each 
page are Linotype dashes. The paper is Warren’s 
Old Style. The composition ivas done by the 
Standard Typesetting Company of Chicago. The 
book zoos printed by Carbery & Reed and bound by 
Morris Spinner & Company of Chicago. This is 
the first Ballou book of Preissig design. The pub- 
lisher hopes that it is the forerunner of many. 



JACK OPPENHEIM 
14 EAST JACKSON BOULEVARD 
CHICAGO 

THE BAKER AND TAYLOR COMPANY 
NEW YORK CITY 
GRAFTON AND COMPANY 
LONDON 








UNIVERSAL